The embattled Utah Sports Foundation, targets of a critical audit last year, tried to persuade lawmakers Wednesday to give it all the money it has asked for despite concerns about its finances.
Henry Marsh, Olympic athlete and one of the chief organizers of the effort to bring the Winter Olympics to Utah, said the foundation needs money to attract prestigious sporting events to the state. The foundation, a private group funded primarily by the state, has asked for $250,000, of which $100,000 will be used as bait to attract events.Legislative auditors, however, told the Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee that the foundation already has $100,000 with which to attract events and doesn't need the additional money. They said they have checked into some of the foundation's claims and found them to be false.
A legislative audit that uncovered possible conflicts and questionable billing practices last year was a "refiner's fire," said Dave Johnson, executive director of the foundation. "We did have some problems. The problems have been resolved and we are up and running again," Johnson said.
The committee is expected to make a decision next week.